How random purpose is helping me let go of false ideals
“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“Random purpose” is a lighthearted term we use in our family explaining why we are doing something that really has no purpose or meaning. It is the act of filling in time, to distract our mind, run away from just being, to give us a sense of validation, a feeling like we are doing something helpful when in fact it is usually doing the opposite
As kids we fill our days playing, imagining, participating in activities that we would also call “random purpose”, it’s all about doing what makes us feel good, getting enjoyment from the simple things and spending our time with friends and family, we have that feeling of freedom without knowing it, its all about the right here and now there is no fear of the future, or regret from the past.
When we become adults it’s the same concept, except we think that our purpose is so much more important than when we were a kid, when actually its not. That carefree attitude, freedom and feeling of aliveness disappears as we become so crowded by expectations and ideals, thinking we need to be or do something to achieve success. In the western society we have a much higher standard of living than ever before and yet we have the highest statistics of depression, addiction and suicide rates. Our modern mind is continuously looking for more: more money, a better job, better car, younger looking body or partner, if we succeed we are satisfied… for a while, but sooner or later that hunger for more comes back.
The past 12 years I have lived in this unsatisfied cycle, continuously comparing myself to others, evaluating and criticizing myself, focusing on what I’m lacking and thinking that to be successful, I need to look a certain way, be a certain weight, have a well respected job/career, own a car and house by a certain age and wear the latest clothing and act a certain way to be accepted by my peers.
This year I started using the ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) method, which focuses on mindfulness and acceptance. I was able to learn to take a step back and really look at my thoughts, to understand that the beliefs I have been telling myself for so many years are just a delusion, they are actually not aligned to my true values, who I really am or what I truly believe in, they are thoughts created by a very false world of ideals. One of the first exercises I did was to write down my values, having a clear understanding of these helped me understand who I was, who I wanted to be and what was important to me. At the end of each day I can clearly see if I have been successful or not, each day if I stick to my values which include things like, being kind, staying curious, listening to others, and having compassion, then I know that I have achieved success, its not about trying to be someone else, have the best car, clothes and biggest house, success to me is being true to myself and my values, continuously working on self improvement and accepting myself for where and who I am right now.
This last week I have been thinking a lot about the term “random purpose”, I see how in my adult life, my idea of meaning and purpose became disillusioned by false thoughts that I had to do and be someone I wasn’t, I created so much fear and anxiety around these ideals knowing I wasn’t achieving that success, that my purpose quickly became finding the best way to run away from these thoughts, through drugs, addictions, food, parties, moving from place to place and pretending to be someone I wasn’t.
This led me to thinking, If life really is about filling our time with random purpose, because lets face it, know one really knows what the meaning of life is, or if we think we do, each and everyone’s meaning or purpose is different. Then why cant I fill my days with what gives me that feeling of freedom and aliveness that I felt as a child. I know that with being an adult, comes more responsibilities, but I also know that I have control over my own purpose. So I have decided to stop giving a fuck about what everyone else is doing, I want to create my own purpose which I see as filling my days with what makes me feel good, being able to connect with people, eradicating the ‘I’ and the ego so I can grow and keep improving myself each day and in turn unite and empower others.
I am not saying its going to be easy, but accepting we are all human beings, and knowing we all make mistakes stops me from falling in the guilt cycle or critical self evaluation. Sharing my story, being open and honest empowers me to keep moving forward, everyday I still feel like I want to run away, but everyday I am becoming more aware of my thoughts. I now can look at myself or listen to others and accept my flaws and mistakes, knowing I can learn and grow stronger from them. I can think back to the term “Random purpose” have a little laugh and remind myself not to take life so seriously.